There are times in life when you want to make some homemade muffins, but you find yourself without one of the key ingredients: baking powder. Luckily, you can easily still make your muffins using a baking powder replacement.
After you read this article, you will know just how to go about making your muffins without this pantry staple. Although most of these alternatives require you to have baking soda, the last two do not.
What Does Baking Powder Do?
Before taking a look at the different baking powder alternatives for making those yummy homemade muffins, it is important to take a look at the role baking powder plays in cooking muffins and other baked goods to perfection. In essence, it all comes down to chemistry—specifically, acids and bases.
You may remember from grade school that when you mix vinegar, which is an acid, with baking soda, a bubbling reaction occurs. This is precisely what happens when you add baking powder to your baked goods as it is a mix of baking soda, which is a base, and an acidic component.
This reaction is one of a few different leavening agents that can be utilized in baking. It is what makes your baked goods rise by way of releasing gases.
Baking Powder Replacements
If you are lacking baking powder in your pantry, fortunately, there are several alternatives. You are likely to have at least one of the ingredients below on hand, which means you can still bake some delicious muffins from scratch.
Take a look at the various substitutes for baking powder, including details as to how to properly replace the ingredient so your muffins turn out as they should. Keep in mind that you will still need baking soda along with many of these baking powder substitutes.
1 – Molasses
Molasses makes for a good alternative to baking powder, though it does add more sweetness to the batter, as well as liquid, so you should compensate by adding fewer wet ingredients and less sugar.
To substitute a teaspoon of baking powder, you can use a quarter-cup of molasses plus a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda. If you follow this measurement ratio, your muffins should turn out puffy and delicious.
2 – Buttermilk
Due to buttermilk going through the fermentation process, it has some acidity to it, which makes it a great substitute for baking powder when used in combination with some baking soda.
For each teaspoon of baking powder in the recipe, you can use a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda with a half-cup of buttermilk. If you end up utilizing buttermilk for your muffin recipe, make sure you use fewer of the other wet ingredients so that the batter does not come out too runny.
3 – Vinegar
Just like with those elementary school science experiments, vinegar and baking soda cause a reaction in your muffins that will help them become perfectly fluffy. However, using it can slightly alter the taste of your muffins, so it is best to use white vinegar since this is the most neutral-tasting option.
If you decide to use vinegar, you can replace a teaspoon of baking powder with a quarter-teaspoon baking soda and half-teaspoon of vinegar.
4 – Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is an acidic byproduct of wine, and it works well as a substitute for baking powder without adding any extra flavor or liquid to a recipe.
For a teaspoon of baking powder, you need to use a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a half-teaspoon of cream of tartar for the perfect leavening results.
5 – Lemon Juice
Since lemon juice is made from an acidic fruit, it contains citric acid, making it an effective substitute for baking powder when combined with baking soda. Just keep in mind that using this ingredient can add a hint of lemon to your muffins, though this could very well be a welcome addition to many kinds of muffins.
You can use a half-teaspoon of lemon juice with a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda for every one teaspoon of baking powder you are replacing.
6 – Yogurt
Since yogurt goes through the fermentation process, similar to buttermilk, it is acidic. However, due to the ingredient being liquid, you should lower the amounts of the other wet ingredients that are used in the recipe.
For every teaspoon of baking powder, utilize a half-cup of yogurt and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda for the same effect as baking powder.
7 – Egg Whites
Egg whites are a perfect substitute for those who do not have baking powder or baking soda in their home. These work as a leavening agent by whipping air bubbles into them.
You will need to do a bit of experimentation as far as figuring out how much to use in lieu of baking powder.
8 – Self-Rising Flour
Another replacement for baking powder that does not require you to have baking soda is self-rising flour. As its name suggests, it rises on its own as it actually contains baking powder, along with flour and salt.
If you use the same amount of self-rising flour as you would regular flour in your muffin recipe, you will have some warm homemade muffins in no time.
Banana Nut Muffins Without Baking Powder
These made-from-scratch banana nut muffins utilize whipped egg whites and buttermilk instead of baking powder. Take a look at the ingredients you will need:
- 3 eggs
- 2 bananas
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
First, you need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then place muffin liners into a muffin pan. Next, use a microwave to melt the stick of butter in a bowl, then set it to the side.
Now, separate the yolks from all three eggs after cracking them into a bowl, and combine the yolks with the sugar, whipping it together until it becomes creamy. After setting the mixture aside, mix up the chopped nuts and flour, then cut the bananas into small pieces before adding them to the yolk mixture.
Next, beat your egg whites until they have stiff peaks forming. Then, mix the nuts, buttermilk, and melted butter into the yolk mixture, and gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour your batter into the muffin liners, and bake them in the middle of your oven for 25 minutes to a half hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
It should be clear after reading this article that there are many substitutes for baking powder that you can use in your muffin recipe. It is easier to do this if you also have baking soda on hand, but this is not always a requirement.
Most people will at least have eggs in their possession, and these alone can be used as a replacement for baking powder if they are whipped. Self-rising flour is also an option if you do not have any baking soda.
As long as you have some way to get gases into your muffins, they will turn into fluffy little delights. Perhaps you will never even buy baking powder from the store again, considering so many other food items work just as well to get your muffins to come out plump and fluffy.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.